Am sure like me, while traveling, you too would have come across places and things mysterious and sometime unexplainable. A visit from London to Stonehenge was one such interesting experience I had during my Europe trip.
As you drive around the English countryside enjoying the pristine greenery the almost sudden sight of tall gigantic stones leave you awestruck. Questions like why, who and how immediately spring up in your mind. Who built it and for what? How did people manage this huge maneuver with primitive modes of transportation as is our knowledge about systems then? But more importantly – what purpose was this built for – that’s the biggest question in your mind as you approach it.
One can buy the ticket to enter this unusual structure at the site office & walk across the road right up to it almost in a trance with your eyes fixed on this marvel. A ticket to enter this prehistoric monument is about seven pounds with an additional charge for an audio guide, which if you ask me is an indispensable aid for all those who want to enjoy this visit.
Located at Wiltshire, UK, standing for almost 5,000 years, weathering all climates Stonehenge taunts you to find out its purpose. Albeit strange, but the history of the Stonehenge goes like this – around 3100 BC semi nomadic people from Salisbury Plain decided to build this monument for reasons best known to them! However, according to the speculation made through various studies the reason vary between human sacrifice to astronomy. In fact a new field of archaeoastronomy was pioneered by Oxford University engineer Professor Alexander Thom and the astronomer Gerald Hawkins. (Archaeoastronomy is the study of the astronomies of ancient civilizations)
The whole construction of Stonehenge happened in three phases and comprises of Bluestone, Sarson, and Welsh Sandstone. It is said that the original construction was a circular ditch with 56 holes around its perimeter forming a ring. Almost post 200 years Bluestones were transported from a quarry almost 200 miles away in the Prescelly Mountains and were installed within the circle. Some of these stones are as heavy as 26 tones! And to transport stones as heavy as these for 200 miles in that age and period is undoubtedly extraordinary.
As much as one would want to see these stones in close quarters and touch and feel them, it is not possible. The area around Stonehenge is barricaded and one can watch from that distance only. The audio guide was of help in understanding this spectacle and its surrounds.
The Stonehenge shop located near the ticket counter offers many curios related to Stonehenge. I walked out with a Stonehenge fridge magnet which added to the my magnet collection
There are trains to the city of Salisbury. From the station there are special buses that ply exclusively to Stonehenge. So one doesn’t need to fear getting lost looking for Stonehenge! And if you plan to go there by road like I did, then check this link out for the best possible route.
The magical sight of these stones only confirmed the many stories that revolve around this monument, with my favourite being the involving the Druids, who are rumored to have done mysterious gatherings & brewed many a secret potions inside the circle laid by the stones!!
Since I had driven down all the way to Stonehenge, I decided to visit the supposedly finest medieval cathedrals in Britain – The Salisbury Cathedral. The sheer scale of the exterior as well as the interiors is breathtaking. Another interesting thing is the Chapter House here which houses the Original Magna Carta. One can enter and study it at their leisure.
The cathedral is surrounded by lush green lawns with lots of sculptures & artistic pieces, where I ended up finally giving my feet a well deserved rest and my rumbling tummy some short bites that I had packed that morning. The sight of the tall cathedral front, as you observe the people moving in and out, as you relax on the soft green grass instilled a deep sense of peace in me.
I returned to London and called it a night, for tomorrow was going to be another day, another locale and another interesting story.